The Context

It has often been repeated, “Timing is everything.” That pearl of wisdom is correct more often than not. This near truism is evident in a number of ways:

The chance meeting of two people who were not ready for love but now are.

The birth of a child just before one of the parents is stricken with sterility-inducing disease.

Finding employment just before losing one’s home.


But if timing is everything, then so is context — perhaps more so. The Roman emperor [161 to 180],and stoic philosopher, Marcus Aurelius, stated, “Poverty is the mother of crime.” This was true almost two thousand years ago and it is still true today — with reference to “street crime.” Ignoring the context of poverty, one can easily assert that an entire group of people are by nature, nocent and prone to rob, rape and kill. But taking into account the context of such activity, leads one to understand why the absence of poverty helps explain the absence of street crime especially in areas where there is affluence. It explains why most of those in prison do not come from wealthy or upper middle class families. Context does not necessarily excuse miscreant behavior; it helps explain it.

Content entails knowledge of most, if not all, the relevant facts and information. It precludes being narrow minded, bigoted and otherwise being fixated on staying in ones comfort zone so as to avoid the entire truth of a situation. It enables the deist to understand both the theist and the atheist. It allows the Democrat to understand the Republican — and vice versa. It can answer the “why” a partner is unfaithful or “how” could a friend betray another. But it does not always excuse, and it does not necessarily justify — it may simply explain. And sometimes, explanations [derived from context] can lead to resolution, a detente or even forgiveness.

Taking things out of context is another way to sacrifice the truth or to obfuscate it. Ignoring context is another way of settling for half truths or whole lies. Timing has to do with the outcome of events; content addresses the essence of the events.

Context is everything because everything has context and one cannot appreciate truth or near-truth without it no more than one can appreciate a word without its sentence and a sentence without its paragraph.

Published in: on February 25, 2015 at 6:41 PM  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Nice. . .very nice!


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